the face of someone mouthing words
you can’t hear or remember —
sometimes all that returns is the curve
of the plank bridge you cross, the wonder of
outstretched wings, your body
riding the air between.
Nights, you lie impatient
for sleep, for noises to jolt you awake
mid-dream — the sound of the child
rising from her bed at the foot of your bed,
staring out the window, then peering at you,
your closed eyes, making sure you’re
still here, the child not knowing
you are awake & listening.
You wait for reruns —
the dream of the lion, the snakes
surrounding the bed, the long corridors,
pitched ramps, stair steps
hollowed by boot soles
leading you higher & higher to room after room,
family & roommates, always
the old house.
You wait for the rare dreams
where your mother is alive
& going her patient way —
“being a mother is learning how to wait”
she would say at the doctor’s office,
at piano lessons, & afterward waiting alone
the rest of her life for letters & calls, waiting
through the long dream of her death.
Before first light
you wait & listen, dreams gone by
except in bursts — one actor
center stage, spots blazing, grease-paint
running, her mouth round & open
she speaks into the memoryof your other world.